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1/26/12

The latest on Roy Oswalt

Here is the latest update on Roy Oswalt:


  • Buster Olney reports that the Boston Red Sox have offered an one-year $5 million contract to Roy Oswalt. In addition, they have offered a contract to Edwin Jackson, so their priorities are not clear at this moment.

  • Adam Boedeker of NBC Dallas reports that the Texas Rangers are close to signing the righty. There are no details of the interactions, but he reiterrates the alleged Oswalt preference to sign either with the Rangers or the St. Louis Cardinals so he can be close to his South Missouri ranch. Peter Gammons first reported that.

  • Ken Rosenthal adds a few more clubs to the list: the Washington Nationals, Cleveland Indians, and Milwaukee Brewers.




The complete coverage on Roy Oswalt including earlier developments is here, in reverse chronological order.

1/25/12

Four Questions the Twins need to resolve this Spring Training

Pitchers and Catchers are reporting in 3 weeks or so and the 2012 Spring Training is just around the corner. The are a lot of questions at this point for the Twins coming into the 2012 season (like Justin Morneau's and Denard Span's health) but some of them will have to wait until the season to be answered. Here I am focusing on the questions that will be answered during Spring Training:

  • What will be the starting outfield? The Twins fairly certainly will start the season with 4 outfielders in the Twins' 25 man roster: Josh Willingham, Denard Span (I assume that he is healthy), Trevor Plouffe, Ben Revere. Ryan Doumit will see some reps at the outfield as well, but he will probably take over Kubel's old role as well as serve as a back up catcher. The Twins have seem to have pencil in Span at center, Willingham at right and a platoon or Revere/Plouffe at LF. There are a few questions here: of the 5789 innings Josh Willingham player in the OF, only 264.1 (all in 2009 with Washington) or 4.6% were at RF. The rest were at left. From the 995 innings Ben Revere played in OF in the majors only 127.1 (13%) were at LF. 814.1 were at CF. And in the minors, he played only 46 games at left, 301 at center (and 2 at RF.). Trevor Plouffe played 3 games in LF and 11 games at RF in the majors, and 6 games at RF and 1 at LF in the minors. A total of 21 games at the OF (all in 2011) between the majors and the minors. And in those games the ball came his way 11 times in Rochester and 20 in the majors. So Plouffe has defended a grant total of 31 balls in his life at the outfield in game action. Denard Span has played 323 games at CF, 124 at RF and 74 at LF. The Twins in Spring Training will need to make 3 people comfortable in pretty much new positions for them, the way they have things planned. Could it happen? Maybe. It might not, though, and the Twins might end up with a starting lineup that has Revere at CF, Willingham at LF and Span at RF with Plouffe mainly assuming platoon DH duties (he is out of options.)


  • What will be the Bench in 2012? I think that the only sure bet for the 2012 Twins' bench is Trevor Plouffe (I am counting Doumit as the starting DH). Plouffe is out of options, and unless the Twins trade him before the season starts he has to make the 25-man roster. Second likely member is Luke Hughes (who has, btw, killing the ball in the Australian Baseball League at a .344/.500/.656 rate with 4 HRs, 17BB and 4Ks in 19 games this winter.) He is also out of options and will be a serviceable option off the bench at all IF positions but SS and part time DH also, plus provide a RH bat off the bench as a PH in late innings. If he does not make the roster he has to be waived or traded, which I think unlikely. There are 2 additional positions on the bench and the common wisdom has it that one will go to a third catcher (Drew Butera, Rene Rivera, JR Towles) and Nishioka will get the other. I think that Gardenhire want a third catcher, but if someone like Rene Tosoni, Joe Benson, Chris Parmelee, Aaron Bates, or Sean Burroughs has a monster spring, these 2 positions are not set in stone, especially Nishioka's who will have to prove himself or start the season in Rochester.


  • What will the bullpen look like? For the time being, pending a transaction, I consider the rotation set to look something like this: Pavano, Liriano, Baker, Marquis, Blackburn. If Blackburn has a horrible spring and someone like Swarzak, Hendriks, or Doyle step it up, there is an outside possibility that Blackburn will be delagated to the pen, but the Twins have been reluctant to do that in the past (including 2011, when Kevin Slowey clearly beat him out in Spring Training.) Assuming that Zumaya is healthy, Capps, Perkins, Zumaya, Deunsing are locks. This will leave 3 positions open for 14 players in the 40-man roster and for 10-non roster invitees. This includes 7 players who pitched for the Twins in 2011 (Alex Burnett, Scott Diamond, Liam Hendriks, Jeff Manship, Lester Oliveros, Anthony Swarzak, Kyle Waldrop) and an 8th (Terry Doyle) which is Rule 5 draft pick and has to be in the 25-man roster or returned to the White Sox. As you can see, this is going to be a brutal battle this Sping, which brings me to the last point:


  • Setting the AAA and AA rosters and figuring out who stays and who goes. If you do the math just for the bullpen battle above, there are 24 players battling for 3 MLB positions. This leaves 21, just from the ones invited to the camp or are in the 40-man roster to populate the Rochester and New Britain pitching rosters. Add about 5-10 younger minor leaguers and you have way too many pitchers in the organization. Some of them, most likely the ones who signed Minor League contracts, will have to go, probably a good 5-6. This decision will have to be made during Spring Training and even-though not as critical as the other 3 for the 2012 Twins, will definitely be interested to watch

1/24/12

Tuesday morning Roy Oswalt update: Another suitor

Here is what we learned last night and this morning about Roy Oswalt:


  • Put the Cincinnati Reds on Roy Oswalt's list, but it will be hard for them to afford him; as John Fay reports in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Walt Jocketty, the Reds' GM, indicates that Oswalts representatives contracted the Reds, but, he also said, that they are "pretty tapped out" and "would need to be very creative" to make it happen. John Fay today tweets that it is a long shot but does not dismiss it.

  • The Boston Red Sox meanwhile, signed Coddy Ross for $3 million, cutting in half the $6 million they saved by trading Marco Scutaro to the Rockies. Could they still afford Oswalt? Do they prefer another SP (Wendy Rodriguez, Galvin Floyd) via a trade? We might find out soon. Keith Law tweets that he feels that Oswalt's "medicals" have been an issue for teams other than the Red Sox, which is an interesting tidbit to keep in mind.



The complete coverage on Roy Oswalt including earlier developments is here, in reverse chronological order.

Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits

Here is this week's installment:


  • This winter has been flying by. The Twins' pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training on February 18th. This is just 25 days away. Sneaky fast. Speaking of Spring Training and pitchers and catchers reporting, a former Twins who reported as a catcher in the 2011 Spring Training, Toby Gardenhire (yes the manager's son) officially retired after being granted free agency this off-season. He will be coaching baseball in the University or Wisconsin Stout. As a matter of fact he will be their head coach. He also got married last Saturday, so Gardy might be a grandpa soon.

  • This will be (almost) a Roy Oswalt-free post. I will update later as needed. To see all the updates so far, you can go here

  • In his first interview with the media as a Twin, Joel Zumaya was confident that he can throw 100 mph again, want to do it against the Tigers, but most importantly seems that he matured, expressing the desire to mix pitches and change speeds. And this comes from someone who in 2010 threw 85% fastballs, 1% change ups and 14% curves. Good to hear him saying that he will be mixing it up. Make sure that you read Phil Mackey's writeup on Zumaya at 1500ESPN.com. Probably the best written piece I read about Zumaya lately.

  • Every Twins' fan should own Seth Stohs' annual Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, which contains profiles about every player in the Twins' system. Great information and the 2012 issue is hot off the presses (and at a bargain price.) More information on how to get your hands on the handbook (and be the coolest kid on the block or around the office) is at Seth's blog or if you prefer an e-book for the price of a coffee and a scone at Starbucks, get it here.

  • And speaking of the Twins' minor leaguers, here is a great interview of Twins' prospect Max Kepler.

  • There is still plenty of time to give to The Bombay Teen Challenge the project that had former Twins' pitchers R.A. Dickey and Kevin Slowey climb up (and down) Mt. Kilimanjaro. The deadline is a week from today and about half of what needed to be raised has been raised.

  • From the Lists Department: Bill James gave his list of the 100 best pitching duets for 2011. Anthony Swarzak (12), Carl Pavano (62), and Scott Baker (66) were the Twins' starters mentioned. Dan Tylicki cratead a list of 40 more catastrophic moves (as in transactions) in MLB and the A.J. Pierzynski trade was ranked number 32 (for the Giants) Twins releasing David Ortiz was number 21. Of course number 1 was the Red Sox selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees. And Clay Davenport projects the Twins to win 68 games in 2012 (second worse record in the majors) and finish in the basement of AL Central 24 games behind the Tigers. Deja vu all over again. I don't buy it.

  • One particular Twins' prospect achieved something bigger than baseball in real life

  • 2012 Twins' organization Free Agents: 1B Jeff Bailey, RHP Andy Baldwin, C Jair Fernandez, C Steve Holm, SS Paul Kelly, 3B Chase Lambin, OF Jeremy Reed, and LHP Jake Stevens are still looking for a team. In total, there are 309 minor league free agents who are currently unemployed. Add about 113 MLB free agents not signed yet, and you might get the big picture of the baseball economy when the lights dim.

  • On a totally unrelated note, Ben Revere has his own web site. Check it out

  • Here is a great interview of Bobby Randall, former Twins' middle infielder in the mid 70s, by Jeremy Deckard of the Topeka Capital-Journal.

  • This is a great article by Adelaide Now about the grand-daddy of Aussie Pitching who happened to be the 10th Aussie living the country to sign with an MLB team. He was signed by the Twins when he was 17th, back when George H. W. Bush was the president of the US, and the Twins were just coming off their second World Series Championship. He actually spent all his pro career with the Twins and made it all the way to Fort Myers. After a 3 year tour of the US Independent leagues (2 yeast in the Frontier League and one in Northern League) he returned back to Australia, when George H. W. Bush's son was the US president.



The parting shot today is a video of Ron Gardenhire, Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins in the Twins' Caravan from Fox 9 News:


Twins Caravan 2012: Gardenhire, Perkins & Duensing: MyFoxTWINCITIES.com


1/23/12

Roy Oswalt is not a sure bet for the Red Sox

When the Detroit Tigers have bowed out from the Roy Oswalt Sweepstakes (primarily because Oswalt did not want to play for them), the assumption has been that the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals (if they clear payroll) are the main suitors remaining.

However, Tom Singer from MLB.com reports that the Red Sox have also been talking to the Astros about Wandy Rodriguez. Add to this the reports that the Red Sox are talking with the other Sox about Gavin Floyd, and the assumption that Roy Oswalt will be in Boston, becomes a tad premature.

Latest on Roy Oswalt: 2 teams out of the picture

No positive developments of Roy Oswalt yet, but there are a couple of suitors that are out of the picture right now:

1/22/12

Roy Oswalt News: Sunday AM Edition

Here is the latest on the Roy Oswalt saga:


  • ESPNBonston.com writer Gordon Edes suggests that the Scutaro trade to the Rockies happened because the Boston Red Sox wanted to clear money to sign either Roy Oswalt or OF Cody Ross. They freed $6 million dollars. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that according to a "baseball source" the Red Sox will make an "aggressive bid" for Roy Oswalt.

  • Scott Wuerz, who covers the St. Louis Cardinals at the Belleville News Democrat suggests that the Red Sox are now the favorites and that the Cardinals would need to clear more payroll space if they were to sign Oswalt.

  • A new team has maybe entered the Oswalt sweepstakes. Reportedly the Detroit Tigers are "on the fringe of the Oswalt market as of Saturday evening" (John Morosi reported that first on twitter.) I cannot imagine the Tigers needing additional pitching, their priority is a DH/OF type to replace Victor Martinez; maybe this is a move to block the Twins and/or drive Oswalt's price up.